Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

December 24, 2013

Child stranded at wrong bus stop

VALDOSTA — The family of a 6-year-old boy, whom a deputy found wandering on a street, claims he was let off at the wrong school bus stop despite a warning from a sibling.

Meanwhile, city school officials claim no one ever told the driver that the child had been let off at the wrong stop.

Charles Johnson said his grandsons were riding home from the new Pinevale Elementary School on Valdosta City Schools bus 38 on Monday, Dec. 16, when the youngest child was let off at a bus stop on the corner of Bethune Street and Southwood Drive, about half a mile from his normal stop.

The bus was driven that day by a substitute, who was filling in for the regular driver, said Jennifer Steedley, VCS director of public relations.

Johnson said the child’s 7-year-old brother told the substitute driver that it was not the correct stop.

“The bus driver told my grandson to sit down and be quiet,” said Johnson.

Steedley said that the surveillance footage from the bus does not match that version of the events.

“The camera does not show an individual

 interaction between the driver and any student,” said Steedley.

The child’s brother was dropped off at his regular stop on Old Statenville Road near Scott Park and went home to tell a family member what happened.

“His aunt asked him where his brother was, and he said, ‘He’s lost,’” said Johnson.

While the family was searching, a Lowndes County sheriff’s deputy spotted the 6-year-old on Clay Road, more than half a mile away from where he was let off the bus. The deputy brought the child home sometime between 3:45-4 p.m., said Johnson.

“He was on the street for 30 to 45 minutes. The deputy found him walking north towards the bridge, and one of those big trucks could have come over the hill and killed him,” said Johnson.

The sheriff’s office confirmed to The Times that a child was picked up on Dec. 16 by a deputy but was unable to provide an incident report or more details due to being closed for holiday business hours.

The majority of students on that route usually walked to Southeast Elementary School but have been riding the bus since the opening of Pinevale Elementary on Dec. 2., said Steedley, who said the incident could have been related to the relative newness of riding the bus home and the young age of the children.

Johnson said he reported the incident to the school system’s transportation department on Dec. 17 and was told he would get a response by the next day but never received a call.

“We should have returned that phone call, and we will take care of that,” said Steedley.

Assistant Valdosta Schools Superintendent Alvin Hudson called Johnson Friday and scheduled a time that Johnson and the children’s mother can review the bus surveillance footage.

“I’m very grateful that no one was hurt,” said Johnson, “but I’m looking at the worst-case scenario and what could have happened to my grandchild.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • EOM July 2014.jpg Sgt. Jonathan Yeargin Honored as July 2014 Employee of the Month

    Valdosta Mayor John Gayle and Fire Chief Freddie Broome honored Jonathan Yeargin as the July 2014 Employee of the Month at the July 10 City Council meeting.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clay Griner.jpeg Griner wins Lowndes commission runoff

    A long nine-week runoff election between Clay Griner and G. Norman Bennett came to an end Tuesday night with Griner beating Bennett by 1,060 votes, with approximately 70 provisional ballots left to count.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140722-Runoff_Voting003.jpg State Senate District 8 too close to call

    The race for State Senate District 8 appeared too close to call as of The Times print deadline late Tuesday night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Senate Georgia_Stew.jpg Perdue defeats Kingston in Georgia Senate runoff

    Businessman David Perdue has defeated longtime Rep. Jack Kingston in the Republican runoff for Georgia’s U.S. Senate nomination, setting up a matchup against Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn that will help determine which party controls the Senate for the final years of the Obama administration.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • County OKs $1.6 million for water-treatment equipment

    By a divided vote, the Lowndes County Commission approved spending $1,638,000 to purchase two pieces of equipment to improve the county’s water quality as per an agreement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

    July 23, 2014

  • Baytree Animal Hospital LB copy.JPG Animal hospital named Business of the Week

    Baytree Animal Hospital was named Leading Business of the Week by the  Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce for July 14.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gavel-courtroom.jpg Water treatment plant discussed

    The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners discussed purchasing two pieces of equipment for the Alapaha Water Treatment Plant and the Spring Creek System for a total of $1,638,000 during its Monday work session and is expected to vote on the issue tonight.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • education.jpg Charter school petition denied

    Both the Valdosta City and Lowndes County school boards unanimously denied the joint charter petition from Scintilla Charter Academy during their respective meetings Monday evening.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • echols_alapapa.jpg WWALS gets grant from river network

    The Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River Systems Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) received a $500 Alapaha Water Trail Grant from the Georgia River Network

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140718-ARJim2.jpg Teacher at home anywhere in the world

    Variety is the spice of life. South Georgia is home to a diverse group of people, each with a unique life story. One man with glorious tales of travel and selfless volunteer work is Jim Kokoruda.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results